Sausages in smoke

In our village Alunisu, like in most Transylvanian villages, many people still keep their own pig(s). It makes all the sense when one has a cow, which most people do, to also have a pig, since excess milk and all the whey can go directly to feeding the pig. Also the lesser quality potatoes, apples, squashes and pumpkins make great fodder. So on a running smallholding there is also plenty of left overs and excess food to give to the pig, which is an omnivore in the ultimate sense of the word. 

Most pigs are slaughtered in winter time, when colder temperatures and no flies and wasps make easier working and conservation conditions. Traditionally, a pig will be slaughtered a short while before christmas, so the holidays are filled with delicious traditional dishes. But all winter long one can families spending a long day butchering. Everyone with their own task, men often outside with the butchering, women inside dealing with the preparation of all the different final products and preparing a wonderful lunch with a traditional soup only eaten at this particular day: cabbage juice soup with fresh meat. A feast with some of the best palinka (homemade 'fruit vodka'). The yearly sacrifice of the pig is a special day which is celebrated and honored!

I want to give a little word here about the sausage making, for which mainly the small intestines are used. Washing these thoroughly is a meticulous and time consuming job, often done by a grandmother. Intestines are rinsed first and then cut into pieces of about 50cm/20inches. These pieces are turned inside out one by one, a job which requires some exercise. More techniques exist, though most will use either a little stick (large knitting needle) or pour water into the beginning of a turned around end, which should then turn inside out by the weight of the water: easier said then done!

Next step in washing and rinsing and washing and rinsing and scraping the inside of the 'intestinal skin'. Washing is done with a mixture of water, salt, white vinegar, chopped onions and sodium bicarbonate (baking powder); several times.

Once all clean, a mixture of ground up meat and fat is worked in with a sausage pump. Now the sausages are ready to go into the smoke house for a couple of days, and ready they are!Liverwurst is made by boiling liver with or without other organs (heart, tongue, even lungs, cartilages for a 'crunch'), mixing in boiled rice and spices according to taste. These liverwurst sausages are boiled for about ten minutes and then smoked. This makes what is called 'caltabos'.